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NINE-YEAR OLD FLORIDA BUILDINGS WITH RECENTLY-DISCOVERED DEFECTS - TIME TO TAKE ACTION

Some building problems are not exposed until a building is several years old.  Stucco cracking, as an example, may not become evident until seven to nine years after a building is certified for occupancy.  If the stucco cracking is severe, it may be evidence of underlying structural problems such as lack of adequate blocking for the exterior walls.

There were many multi-family and two-story homes built in Florida during the boom between 2004 and 2006.  A fair portion of these buildings are exhibiting stucco cracking which may have structural problems at their source.  Is there recourse?  If indeed the problems are caused by building code violations, and structural problems as well as stucco deficiencies usually stem from a violation of some portion of the building code, it is possible to pursue an action under Chapter 553.84, Florida Statutes.  Chapter 553.84 provides that anyone damaged as a result of a building code violation has a cause of action for damages against the party committing the violation.  An action in negligence may also be possible.

Here is the rub.  Pursuant to Section 95.11 c. (3), Florida Statutes, even with latent defects, it is incumbent upon a party damaged by a construction defect to file suit within ten years of the issuance of the certificate of occupancy for the building.  

Thus, if you own a single-family home or manage a multi-family or commercial building which is exhibiting construction defects, and the ten-year anniversary of the issuance of the certificate of occupancy is approaching, you had better act quickly to investigate the problems and hire a lawyer to file suit to preserve your causes of action.  You can always dismiss a case that you file but you cannot file a case after the ten years has run.

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Tannenbaum Scro, P.L.
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Sarasota, FL 34236

Toll Free: 866-615-4543
Phone: 941-444-9092
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Tannenbaum Scro, P.L.
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